Mindfulness at work: the latest fad or worthy of investment?

Illustration showing happy and chilled out people

Crimped hair, glittery eyeshadow, Angry Birds, and even avocado on toast have been named some of the biggest “fads” of all time.  

With all of these “fads” becoming popular and then out of fashion so quickly, it’s almost like a revolving door – but is it fair to tar ‘mindfulness’ with the same brush?  

‘Mindfulness’, by definition, according to Mindful, is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Being cautious to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. 

When you think of the everyday struggles people face at work, whether it’s frustrating customer interactions, pressure from senior management or just too much work to think straight – the idea of mindfulness certainly sounds appealing to those in need. 

 

So, what are the actual benefits?

Mindfulness on its own brings many benefits, such as: 

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Deeper feeling of self-connection
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Boosted energy levels

But when combined with the hustle and bustle of working life, mindfulness can transform businesses and employees to a revolutionised, better version. 

 

Better communication, less employee conflict

Arguments, pettiness and just plain old’ not getting along is common within teams. You can’t be everyone’s best friend, right? 

This is where mindfulness fits in perfectly.  

When practising mindfulness individually, the ability to listen to yourself, your feelings and focus on yourself is strengthened.  

However, when mindfulness is practised in the workplace, everyone around you can do the same, making relationships healthier and more meaningful.  

Research shows mindfulness training in the workplace can relate to improved communication quality, including open listening with increased awareness and less evaluative judgment of others.

 

Calmer, less stressed employees = reduced sick days

Did you know mental health issues are now the leading cause of sick leave in the UK? Mental health problems account for 70 million sick days, more than half of the 130 million total every year – and stress is one of the top three causes! 

An element of mindfulness is being able to step back, be present in the moment, and think about stress responses without reacting. Being more aware of your thoughts gives you the ability to alter your stress response.  

A powerful tool like mindfulness can create calmer employees, or at the very least, employees that can reroute their anger responses and focus on themselves.  

 

So, is mindfulness a fad, or not?

In short – no 

People have been practising mindfulness for over 2,000 years. A popular concept within the Buddhist community, Buddhist monks, have been channelling mindfulness to help meditate for years.  

One of the most renowned Buddhist leaders, Thich Nhat Hanah, is a massive advocator for mindfulness and how mindfulness can be the energy and food our minds need to truly be happy and present in our lives.  

Maybe it’s time you gave it some serious thought, too?